Navy Island

Located on the Niagara River upstream from the Falls, Navy Island has a long and interesting history. The islands first inhabitants some 10,000 years ago were natives who used the island for fishing and building canoes. The French took over the island in the 1700s using it as a naval base where they built many ships. British troops used the island as a naval shipyard in 1763, constructing small sloops and schooners.

One of the most famous visitors was William Lyon Mackenzie, a rebel reformer who attempted to overthrow the government of Upper Canada in 1837. Mackenzie fled the country to the United States after threats were made on his life, however he soon returned to Canadian soil on Navy Island. It was here along with his followers that he established the short-lived Provincial Government of Upper Canada. Mackenzie wanted to overthrow the ruling government of the day and he planned to do so by invading Canada; however his plan was foiled when British troops invaded the island and Mackenzie and his followers were forced to retreat back to America. Mackenzie was later arrested and imprisoned for his actions.

During the 1850s four families began living on the island using it to farm and plant orchards. The Queens Hotel a popular resort was built on the island in the late 1800s. It was eventually abandoned and burned down in 1910.

Navy Island was promoted as the site for the United Nations in 1945, because of its close proximity to both Canada and the United States; however, the United Nations Committee would favour New York for its new headquarters.

Today the island is unoccupied and is home to many species of flora and fauna, including a large population of deer. Navy Island is a popular nature retreat for nature enthusiasts, who fish, watch rare species of birds, and camp amongst the lush vegetation.
The island is only accessible by boat and currently no facilities are provided. Camping is permitted by permit only.